Owning a Japanese Akita Inu, is it the breed for you?
The Japanese Akita Inu is a very striking and handsome breed of dog. In particular Japanese Akita Inu puppies are extremely cute and it can be very tempting to purchase one without thinking about how they will fit into your lifestyle and home. They aren’t the breed for everyone, so there are many things to consider before purchasing a Japanese Akita Inu.
o Lifespan – they can often live for 12-15 years, so it’s a long term commitment to their care
o Large dogs:-
o Height – Males:64-70cm (25 ¼-27 ½ ins); Females: 58-64 cm (22 ¾-25 ¼ ins)
o Weight – Males: 30-35kg; Females: 27-32kg
o Costs – the costs of anything is greater for a large dog than a small one. Grooming, beds, training toys, leads, collars, harnesses are all more costly than it would be for a small dog. Of course any ‘bling’ collars or equipment is also more expensive!
o Grooming – twice a year they will ‘blow’ their coats, which is when all of the undercoat is shed over a 2-3 week period. Due to the copious quantity of soft, fine undercoat this will mean that although for most of the year they shed very little and a weekly grooming is adequate, during this time there will be balls of fur floating around and on the floor and clothes and everywhere. It’s impossible to remain fur-free and a thorough daily grooming is required
o Veterinary treatment – they are a medium-large sized dog and this means that they often fall into the more expensive vet fee charges. Any sedation/anaesthetic costs will be higher than for a smaller dog.
o Insurance costs – as a large dog, insurance costs can also be quite high, between £25 and £60 per month depending on the cover required.
o Exercise – they require at least 45-60 minute walk twice a day. Running with an adult dog is ideal exercise and keeps both the dog and owner fit. If the dog is bored they will find their own entertainment and this is likely to involve chewing or destruction of items
o Prey Drive: The Japanese Akita Inu originated as a hunting dog, although they are no longer used for this purpose they do retain a strong instinct to hunt. This can include other small furry pets and local wildlife. This, combined with their ‘selective deafness’ and independence can lead to a dog chasing a rabbit or fox across the road and being hit by a car. For this reason it is always recommended that Japanese Akita Inu’s are kept on lead unless in a securely fenced area. They are also great jumpers and many can clear a 1m fence with ease, especially when something catches their attention on the other side
o Feeding: They can be sensitive to some foods and in particular the filler ingredients in the cheaper foods. They do well on a raw diet, although this can be time consuming and a bit messy to be practical for some people although there are several good raw food suppliers around now. A good quality dry kibble will cost about £40-£60 for a 15kg sack that will last about 6-8 weeks. You need to add to this treats and training rewards
o Training: All dogs need training in order to be a settled and involved member of the family. A lack of training is a key reason that dogs are returned to the breeder or given up to rescue. The Japanese Akita Inu is renowned as an independent thinker, although this means that they can learn exercises very quickly it also means that they are more likely to question and challenge their owners when asked to perform what they perceive as meaningless exercises. This can often include coming back when called when there is clearly something more interesting to chase. Training is an ongoing task, and will be a lot harder work than one of the more trainable breeds; if you want a dog that is eager to please you then this is NOT the breed for you.
Although owning a Japanese Akita Inu can be challenging there are many good aspects to the breed. There is also variation between individuals in the breed and the delightful, calm, well trained dog is a combination of genetics, upbringing and training.
o Independent – tends not to suffer from separation anxiety when left. Although there are individuals who do have separation anxiety.
o Lovely soft fur – they are lovely to stroke and pet. It can even be spun to produce a soft wool so you can even have a scarf of your dog’s fur.
o Unusual breed – you do get lots of attention, but you will spend a lot of time explaining about the breed
o Unreliable recall – need to be kept on a lead as they will often not return in an emergency
o Independent – they often aren’t so keen to be cuddled, and overheat easily so aren’t really too keen to cuddle up on the bed
o Blows the coat twice a year – your house will be covered in fine downy fur that will get in everything and everywhere
o Health issues – health problems are known in the breed, particularly Hip Displacia, Eye conditions, Thyroid and Auto-Immune disease. Due to the relative newness of the breed it is difficult to identify which lines are more prone to these conditions.